If you want to cook the pasta ahead, toss it with the olive oil, and refrigerate for up to two days. Cook the shrimp up to a day ahead, and add it to the pasta. Combine the tomatoes, juice, olives, and spices early on the morning of the party. Leave this mixture out at room temperature so the flavors will meld. Toss everything together just before guests arrive.
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
1 1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pitted niçoise olives
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta (
6 cups trimmed arugula
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
How to Make It
Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt over shrimp. Place shrimp on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely. Combine shrimp, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well; cool. Add pasta, arugula, and oil to shrimp mixture; toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese.
Wine note: The arugula's light peppery bite, the tomatoes' acidity, and the brininess of the niçoise olives all call for a simple, crisp, bone-dry white wine that will act as a between-bite refresher. Italy is full of such wines. For one that's packed with personality, you can try Terruzi e Puthod's Terre di Tufo 2005, a vernaccia-chardonnay blend from Tuscany (about $24). -Karen MacNeil
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